I joined YouTuber Wolfpack345 and a couple of others on the Combat Box server the other day to check out the P-51B in multiplayer. We attacked ground targets, got tangled up with some Ju88’s and had a bunch of fun. Here’s a few excerpts from our battles!
RAF Mustang ground attack sortie
For our first sortie we configured our P-51’s as Mustang Mark III. That meant fitting a British gunsight, Malcolm Hood canopy, and British 1000lb MC bombs.
Our target was a bridge crossing with defenses. We set out on our sortie loaded with half fuel and 2000lbs of bombs beneath our wings. Despite this, the P-51B managed to get up and going relatively quickly and we were on our way. Several minutes later, we arrived over the target without incident and proceeded to attack.
Wolfpack’s bombs went just wide of the target as he was hit with a surprise burst of flak right at the release point which disrupted his attack. While he swung around and hit one of the flak guns in revenge, I dove in and dropped my bombs on the bridge with full effect. Bridge destroyed!
Another aircraft appeared in the distance and we were briefly concerned that a 109 was about to bounce us. But it turned out to be another Mustang. False alarm!
Then another surprise. A pair of Ju88A-4s flew almost right our target and we quickly switched from ground attack to bomber intercept. The other Mustang that we’d just ran into drew first blood firing a long burst at the lead Ju88 which dropped away, smoking.
The second Ju88 was my target and I hit it with a three second burst. It continued on and both Wolfpack and the other Mustang hit the Ju88 before it too succumbed to damage and crashed. I picked up an assist on that one.
We returned to base and called that a successful sortie.
USAAF ground attack sortie
Having too much fun with the P-51B in ground attack configuration, we decided to repeat our sortie on a new target but this time flying with USAAF livery. This time, there were three of us were on hand and we once again took 1000lb bombs to the target. We flew further into enemy territory this time with our new target being a vehicle convoy located at an easily identifiable crossroads.
When we got there, we realized that only a few targets remained. We dropped our bombs on target destroying the remaining vehicles almost without incident.
With bombs expended we headed back to base but not before doing a panic break when a fourth dot appeared in amongst us. We initially worried it might be a 109 but it turned out to be a Mustang. False alarm! Before too long, we were back home and mission accomplished..
Fateful intercept mission
Wolfpack had to depart but my other wingman was still up for one more sortie. We set out once again with 1000lb bombs attached with the goal of hitting a more distant target. But we were only halfway to target when we sighted enemy aircraft. So we switched from ground attack to fighter interceptor. With fateful results.
Climbing to 18,000 feet and firmly wedged between two layers of clouds we scanned for the two aircraft that had caused us to drop our bombs. Between clouds we managed to spot them but not before another pair of Mustangs dropped down through the clouds suddenly appearing behind the 109s. Both went down quickly. Wow!
But the action was just heating up. We both made a wide clearing turn to check our sixes but found ourselves surrounded by Fw190s and Bf109s. A Dora made a pass towards me and I broke hard but that just put me into the gunsight of a Bf109 who hit me with a 30mm cannon shell.
My Mustang flipped over and began to tumble. No amount of control surface deflection seemed to be able to right the aircraft so at 9,000 feet I bailed out. My wingman was the next one on the menu and was also quickly hit and destroyed.
Not every flight is a victory.
Very fun aircraft
As I wrote in my full review of the P-51B, this is a very fun aircraft that is also highly versatile. While the Mustang was known for its prowess as an escort fighter helping to keep the bombers safe over the skies of Germany, both USAAF and RAF also made extensive use of the fighter’s capabilities in the fighter-bomber role. And that’s just as fun for me as it is scoring a few kills in a tense dogfight!